I met someone new today in kettlebells class. While we pedaled hard on our stationary bikes, she told me a brief history of their lives. All that came up later materialized because she asked if I would be baking pies. Yes, I will. She said she wouldn’t be, shaking her head with a rueful smile. She got used to not doing much baking because of their limited space on the boat.
I pumped her for more information. She lived on a boat for 13 years with her husband, and later, daughter. During their lengthy sojourn, they toured the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. For their daughter’s earliest years they homeschooled her aboard the vessel. Later, they put their daughter, now 12, into schools in England and Ireland. Just in the last year and half they moved to Shelton. After living and sailing in all those dreamy destinations, Why Shelton? I asked.
“Well”, she stated, “I’m from Oregon and my husband was stationed at McCord (Air Force Base). He wanted to come back. He liked the Northwest. It was like it called to us.”
Hmm. Funny now only some places feel like home and other places are nice to visit, even for long stretches.
As we continued to pedal, do some bell-swinging and return to bikes, I thought about what she said. Her daughter now attends OMS, where Zac was last year. I wonder how she feels about going to a regular school with American kids? Did she have a huge culture shock, overwhelmed by our blatantly materialistic culture? I would imagine living aboard a boat confines one to minimal, necessary possessions. Was she “socialized” enough? That seems to be the utmost concern of *everyone* who never homeschooled children and has no idea what it actually means.
What’s it like to wake up in a new place and speak a new language? Did they ever capsize and lose everything, having to start over? Did they teach their daughter to sail? My imagination awakened. All these questions surged through my mind and I thought about how we never really know about people until we open our mouths and ask questions. This lady seemed like a nice enough person but nobody extraordinary, her regular appearance belying some astounding life choices. She had mentioned before that she and her husband were building a house. We’d talked about the cost of pouring a concrete slab ($6000!) and how she was trying to find someone to do it for less. She talked about hitting up Habitat for Humanity’s sale on Black Friday to help get some more of her house’s insides completed.
Finally, as we wound down our last session on the bikes, she told me they still had the boat. She told me her husband couldn’t bear to part with it. I get that. If you’re a sailor at heart, why would you? Any day, they could haul anchor and set sail again, ripe for new adventures. It could sit there in your driveway forever, a reminder of good times past and future possibilities. If they left, would Shelton still be home?
As the November rain washes over us and the windows blow, I admit it’s very appealing to think of sailing somewhere sunny. Maybe I could stow away.
What are you dreaming about today?